Despite the call to phase out gas supplies in the coming years, the overwhelming prediction is that the need for gas engineers is going nowhere. According to Gas Safe, the shortage of gas engineers has already arrived. This shortage is made worse by the fact that half of the current engineers in the industry are already over the age of 55 and steadily approaching retirement.

A newly qualified gas engineer can expect a starting salary of up to £35,000 and many engineers go on to become successfully self-employed but how long does it take before you’re ready to apply?

There are many options available to an aspiring gas engineer here in the UK. The push for apprenticeships in previous years, although successful in introducing many young people to the industry, has spread the narrative that full qualification takes years. Often forgotten is the private training industry, a more costly upfront investment but providing rewards much faster in the form of employment and career progression.

Access Training is the UK’s number one Trades Training provider, with courses across the trades which can get you fully qualified and into work in just a matter of months. These courses also offer a level of flexibility that traditional colleges and apprenticeships can’t match, scheduling the training to accommodate the needs of the student.

If you wish to become a Gas Safe engineer as soon as possible, we recommend the Professional Gas Engineer Course from Access Training. This is a flexible gas training course that's open to everyone - no prior heating or plumbing experience is required to enrol.

This intensive gas course is specifically designed to earn you the qualifications needed to become a professional gas engineer, getting you ready for work within the shortest possible time frame. All the basics (including gas safety legislation and standards) are covered in online classes; after that, you will attend our fully-equipped training centre for the practical portion of your course. Our expert tutors will make sure you can do everything that's expected of a gas engineer - such as pipework, tightness tests, and repairing a variety of gas appliances.

Our Professional Gas Engineer Course closes with the ACS gas assessment, which tests students on everything they've learned. If you pass this assessment, you will receive the ACS Certificate - this enables you to join the Gas Safe Register, a legal requirement for gas engineers in the UK.

We also offer a Premier Gas Engineer Course, which includes everything mentioned above plus the Level 2 Diploma in Plumbing. Completion of this course allows you to conduct plumbing as well as gas work, which is a useful advantage for a professional gas engineer to have.

Once you are qualified, Access Training's Career Support Team is on hand to get you working in the industry with companies across the UK.

Enquire below today to secure your future as a fully qualified Gas Engineer with Access Training

Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

Student loans denied

In February, the government announced new plans to restrict access to student loans, depending on academic achievement. Driven by ambitions to restrict university numbers, students who do not receive certain GCSE and A Level grades would no longer be entitled to receive crucial loans to help them through university, regardless of their backgrounds. 

In an attempt to “weed out … low-quality courses” at university, and to reduce the rapidly rising number of students who apply for and attend university in recent years, ministers from the Department of Education have announced plans which state that students who do not achieve a minimum of two E grades at A Level, or Grade 4 pass in English and Maths at GCSE, will not be entitled to receive a student loan. 

This decision raises multiple questions on the culture of education and what expectations we have for our students in today’s world. Are university courses supposed to lead towards fulfilling, better-paid jobs? Should students expect long-term, secure employment after completing their degrees? Or have we, as a culture, become so used to the expectation of these promises being delivered by the university route that we have neglected the other – perhaps more suitable – avenues that can lead to stable, long-term, well-paid employment. Such as construction and vocational routes, the likes of which the UK is in desperate need.

Naturally, the government’s decision has come under criticism, not least because this will impact students from more challenging economic backgrounds whose career options will be dramatically limited beyond attending university. Alistair Jarvis CBE, chief executive of Universities UK, makes the point that “Government should expand opportunity, not constrain it”. And we agree. 

But surely these opportunities should be expanded for all career opportunities beyond university, including vocational training courses? Careers in construction and the trades are just as vital for the UK’s social and economic development, and this change in policy is an opportunity to encourage school leavers to consider all their options in accordance with their strengths. 

Regardless of whether you might agree or disagree with the government’s policy, it is unwise to close certain doors without opening others, and this is what their decision could amount to. Without encouraging more school leavers into vocational training, the decision could negatively impact the futures of yet another generation of young professionals. Without diverting well-equipped and enthusiastic students towards vocational training routes, the government will limit opportunities for students across the country – and those from more disadvantaged backgrounds will bear the brunt.

Other avenues out of school therefore must be highlighted, encouraged, and pursued by educational and government policies, so that these plans for change do not leave students in the lurch, without all the options they are entitled to. And if more students were encouraged to pursue careers in construction as a result, this would be welcomed, considering the industry’s severe skills shortage. 

Moreover, it would allow thousands of students to avoid the baggage of decades-worth of debt: a recent study claimed that students starting university in 2023 would have to wait 40 years after graduating before they manage to pay back their debts. With a rise in “poor-quality, low-cost courses” which do not guarantee effective routes into employment, is this really a price tag worth paying when other options can send you straight into work with a fraction of the time and cost? 

And that’s where we come in. Access Training specialises in a range of vocational training courses, and has been supplying the UK with the next generation of tradespeople and skilled workers for well over a decade. 

We do not believe in placing limitations on opportunity, and consider it our duty to ensure that prospective students enter the world of work as qualified, prepared, and ambitious as possible. Just as some potential students might be missing out on places at university, how many excellent prospective construction professionals have chosen university over a secure, well-paying career, to find themselves unemployed and saddled with debt on the other side?

Access Training represents another avenue, beyond university, which can streamline you into a professional career. Give us a call and we’ll take it from there. 

 

Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

Rusthall Football Club, sponsored by Access Training

Access Training is thrilled to announce that we are the new First Team shirt sponsor and principal partner for Rusthall FC’s upcoming campaign.  As well as being placed on the front of the First Team home shirts for the campaign, Access Training will be visible around The Jockey Farm Stadium and will be in attendance at headline fixtures.

Jamie Jefferies, Access Training's C.E.O said: "We are delighted to partner with Rusthall FC for the 2022/2023 season. Our exciting new partnership with this much-loved football club is just one of the ways in which Access hopes to contribute to the local community."

Rusthall FC was formed in 1899 when they registered with the Kent County Football Association and entered the Tunbridge Wells Football League. The club turned semi-professional as they gained promotion to The Southern Counties East Premier Division in 2017. The club played their first-ever game in the FA Cup when they were drawn away to CB Hounslow in the extra-preliminary round of the competition in 2017/18 season. 

The club continues to strive in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division at level 9 in the English Football Pyramid (8 consecutive promotions away from the Premier League) and now has teams at every age group throughout the club at a grassroots level.

Dean Jacquin, Rusthall FC's Chairman said: “Access Training is well-established and is fast-becoming an instantly recognisable brand within the UK. Our partnership with a leading construction based training provider is yet another statement of progress at the club, both on and off the field. We look forward to helping each other secure our respective ambitions.”

For information on upcoming fixtures and Rusthall FC news, head to their website https://www.rusthallfc.com/

Diversity in construction

Traditionally speaking, the construction industry has been and remains a male-dominated space. But after the extraordinary readjustments made by the construction industry throughout the turmoil of the last two years, surely we have proved our ability to adapt to changing circumstances? Now must be the time to increase the industry’s diversity and open itself up to the full pool of talent available to it as we move further towards the challenges of the 21st century.

Between 80-90% of those working in the construction industry identify as men, in an industry which has long attempted to broaden its appeal to people from all walks of life. Only 15% of tradespeople working in the industry in 2022 are women, while a mere 2% of those working onsite are women. 6% of tradespeople are from a Black, Asian, or Minority Ethnic (BAME) background, and the same percentage of tradespeople have a disability. 

While it is unclear what the total number of people who identify as LGBTQ+ working in construction is, a study by the Chartered Institute of Building claims that around 60% of those who answered have experienced homophobic or derogatory comments based on their sexuality. In this day and age, this is surely unsatisfactory. 

So what can the construction industry do to change?

The LCL Awards have recently announced the foundation of an initiative which puts this progressive intention on the front page of the construction world, by offering an Inclusivity Charter to which training centres can sign up. This represents a commitment to upholding values of inclusivity, and striving to improve the training conditions for trainees from underrepresented groups. 

LCL Awards have partnered with Hattie Hasan MBE, the celebrated plumber who founded the first all-female plumbing company Stopcocks Women Plumbers, and introduced a Register of Tradeswomen in 2021. She has been campaigning tirelessly for increased representation of women in the industry, and has spoken openly about her experiences of “first-hand sexism and ignorance when it comes to being a ‘female plumber’”. 

Her inspiring workshops cover important topics. Not only does she advocate for inclusivity, tolerance, and equality in the workplace – these are the bottom line – but Hasan educates all workers on the possibility for inevitable unconscious biases which can surface in a male-dominated environment. 

She illustrates the circumstances in which voices from underrepresented groups can go unheard, and offers advice for training centres on dealing with conflict, or on how to construct flexible courses which suit the needs of all, and how these courses should be delivered and represented. 

Importantly, she suggests ways that training centres can “demonstrate their inclusive values through their websites and other marketing materials”, and actively promote the values they claim to hold.

This might involve offering flexible online courses for trainees competing with a busy working or parenting schedule to complete at evenings or weekends, or on a part-time basis. The design of courses and the institutions must commit to having awareness of the needs of all underrepresented groups, and to advertise this to potential students. 

This is a valuable example of training centres not only creating welcoming conditions for tradespeople from underrepresented groups, but actively promoting these conditions and changing people’s perceptions of the industry. 

Because where better place to tackle this issue than in the training centres responsible for procuring the next generation of tradespeople? The values, practices, and principles of equality must be fully ingrained in the centres which harbour each new wave of skilled construction workers passing through our doors. This means that our training centres must promote a welcoming, safe, thriving environment for people from all backgrounds, all walks of life, and all creeds. Hasan adds:

 

“Training is the first step in most people’s careers, so getting this bit right in terms of ensuring people feel they can move into a sector that might not be considered “the norm” is crucial. [...] An inclusive environment increases diversity in training centres, LCL Awards centres can attract more learners from more different backgrounds, and help to dispel myths that trainees may have too”.

 

But this is, of course, the bottom line of any workplace in Britain today. It goes without saying that tolerance of all people is a fundamental expectation of how our society should function. We need to go beyond this: to actively encourage and attract people who might never consider themselves suitable or welcome in a traditionally male-dominated industry. We cannot passively wait for under-represented groups to come to us -– we need to seek them out and promote the new face of a diverse, equal and inclusive construction industry. 

It is important to emphasise that this concerted effort to change the face of construction is not a case of box-ticking, or diversity for diversity’s sake. As Mark Krull, director of LCL Awards states, “we’re not paying lip-service here”. It is essential that those serving our communities as tradespeople represent those communities; for the construction industry to thrive and adapt, it must open itself up to attract talent from thus far underrepresented pools. 

And of course, improving equality and diversity in the construction industry will ultimately prove of great benefit to the industry itself; its productivity, its innovation, its efficiency. A diverse supply chain will also mean better support networks for small businesses, greater community involvement, improved on-site working relationships, and will generate a culture of understanding and celebration of people’s cultural differences. 

Access Training is fully committed to applying these standards of equality, diversity and inclusivity to all of our training centres, ensuring that no individual is discriminated against based on gender, gender identity, age, race, religion, or any of the nine protected characteristics listed under the UK Equalities Act 2010. 

Nor will we stop at the standards at which we’ve reached, but will continue to listen and promote the needs of those underrepresented voices who want to become qualified tradespeople. 

It is our duty to those people, and to the wider construction industry itself, that these people feel welcome and able to hone their craft in absolute safety. If you consider yourself among an underrepresented group, we assure you – you are welcome at Access Training. 

 

Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

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